In quantum mechanics there is a rule: when particles are observed, they behave differently. We found out in the late ’90s, via various experiments, that electrons act as either particles or waves, depending on whether they were observed. What does that have to do with marketing, you say?
Let’s translate what we know about quantum mechanics to the world of the consumer and our observation and marketing efforts. I’ll wager that it’s a similar phenomenon. When we’re observing our customers and gathering data on them, we’re affecting their relationship with us as brands. Especially if we’re not careful with how we use the information we gather.
Let’s have a show of hands
How many of you feel that you’re being followed around on the internet? You look at a website or click on an ad, and suddenly that ad is following you around everywhere you go online. It’s called retargeting, and it’s become a very popular form of mass marketing. Does seeing this ad around every corner or popping in the middle of a YouTube video you’re trying to watch give you a sudden urge to buy that product?
Now check your junk mail box, and unfortunately your regular inbox too, because so many are finding their way through the filters. Do you see emails from the same companies who follow you around online? Do those emails ever come out of your SPAM mindset and get acted upon? No? Do they come again, and again, and again WAY too often…? Even if you try to unsubscribe?
Now raise your hand if you participate in retargeting your customers, and bombarding them with email offers… I thought so.
We’re not learning the lessons of the past
Just like mass marketing in the days of old, retargeting is being used to inundate our customers with unwanted, interruptive solicitations. We’re bombarding them with daily emails (sometimes twice and three times a day). We’re stalking them around the internet from web surfing to social platforms, and even pinging them on their cell phones! You can’t scroll a single article from an online magazine on your phone without having to navigate around in-line ads and pop-ups. It’s F*#@-ing ANNOYING!!